Urbino, with Pesaro is one of the main cities of the Marche Region. Founded by the Romans with the name Urvinum Metaurense ("the little city on the river Mataurus"), the city is one of the most important artistic cities of the area (its old city center has been declared in 1998 from the UNESCO as part of the "World Heritage List"). The major artistic and cultural growth was registered during the dominion of the Lords of Montefeltro and Urbino is also the birthplace of the famous artist of the Renaissance "Raffaello Sanzio".
Seat of the National Art Gallery of the Marche, the Palazzo Ducale is one of the most interesting examples of Renaissance style architecture. It is a masterpiece of the architect Luciano Laurana (1464-1472), who designed and supervised the works, and features a famous façade "dei torricini", the Cortile d'Onore (a noble arcaded courtyard) and the monumental entrance staircase, that after the departure from Urbino of Laurana, was completed by the architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini , already famous for the building of Montefeltro Family fortresses . When the Duke Federico died in 1482, the works on the second floor where supervised by Girolamo Genga in 1536.
Raffaello's home is in the street entitled to him at the civic number 57: where it is possible to admire the interiors preserved as they were when this artist lived here with the original pieces of furniture and some of his first artworks and frescos.
Of Neoclassic taste, the Cathedral, masterpiece of the architect Camillo Morgia, built in 1782, presents a façade in stone of Furlo and is decorated with five statues, on the pediment: the three Moral Virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity), whilst on the sides: Sant'Agostino (on the left hand side) and San Giovanni Crisotomo (on the right hand side).
Not to miss: the Gothic Church of Sant'Agostino; the Oratory of San Giuseppe, with a wonderful nativity scene of the artist Brandani; the Oratory of San Giovanni Battista (XV century) with frescos of the Salimbeni brothers; the Mausoleo dei Duchi, artwork of Bramante, which hosts the tombs of Federico II and Guidobaldo I Montefeltro, Dukes of Urbino and the Church of San Francesco, of the XIII century and refurbished to its actual state by Vanvitelli in 1742.